BMW South Africa has become the first car manufacturer in the country, since the implementation of the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP), to receive a clearance permit to export vehicles to China from the Chinese authorities.
The permit — known as the China Quality Certification (CQC) — was recently awarded to the company's Rosslyn manufacturing plant north of Pretoria, opening the door for BMW to export the new BMW 3 Series to China, one of the fastest-growing major markets in the world, from later this year.
A comprehensive audit carried out by a team from the CQC Centre confirmed that Rosslyn's production and quality management systems were in line with world standards.
The move follows an investment of some R2.2-billion between 2009 and 2012 by the BMW Group in its Rosslyn plant, which re-opened in March with the launch of the all-new BMW 3 Series.
BMW sales in China are currently growing at a rate of more than 40 percent per annum. The South African-built vehicles will go a long way towards addressing the booming demand in this market. Bodo Donauer, BMW SA's Managing Director, explains that Rosslyn's production capacity will increase dramatically in the coming years and will ultimately exceed 90 000 units per annum.
"The China certification is a great vote of confidence in our plant and our people. It bodes well not only for our sustainability as a company, but also for the broader motoring industry in South Africa," said Donauer. "Whilst our Chinese exports will start at a small level at first, the plan is for this market to ultimately make up around 10 percent of our total export volume. In 2012, we plan to export around 3900 units to China."
Currently, Rosslyn exports about 50 percent of the vehicles it produces to the US. The remainder of the cars will be shared among the local and African markets, Canada, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.